Ruth J. Hartman is a licensed dental hygienist and published author. She lives in rural Indiana with her husband of 28 years and two spoiled cats. She graduated from Indiana University School of Dentistry in 1984 with an associate’s degree in science/dental hygiene. She became interested in dentistry after her older brother was accepted into the same dental school.Her writing career didn't begin until 2008. Having previously taken a course in Writing for Children and Teenagers from the Institute of Children's Literature, her interest in writing was stirred again one day when she came across some old short stories she'd written. Her first published book, "My Life in Mental Chains," which is her memoir about her struggles with severe OCD, came out in 2008. Since then, she's written and has had published numerous short stories, articles, and romance novels. She feels the novels are her niche, especially when they revolve around dentistry.Her current romance book, "Pillow Talk" is now available from Class Act Books. This quirky story is about a tooth fairy that falls in love with her dentist. More about her works can be seen at her Web site.Kristine Hodsdon, director of RDH eVillage, asked Ruth some questions about her inspirational writing success. Hodsdon: How do you motivate yourself to write?
Hartman: I love to write. That being said, though, there are times when I have to do some self-motivation. I don't have any set hours to write, but instead use nooks and crannies of time here and there. But if I know I have a deadline looming that in itself is a great motivator. I'm the kind of person who hates to disappoint people. So if an editor says she needs a rough draft or galley edits by next Thursday, I'm all over it.Hodsdon: Do you continue to practice dental hygiene?Hartman: I practice dental hygiene two days a week for a very nice dentist 30 minutes from my house. There are a lot of dentists much closer, but I feel so comfortable there, that I wouldn't want to give that up just for convenience sake. Plus, the two days a week work great for me. I have carpal tunnel, so I have to be careful I don't overdo scaling and perio treatments.Hodsdon: What would you say to a RDH who is stalled by the blank page?Hartman: I have trouble starting. I stare at the page and think, "What's the first line? How should the story start?" I've found that putting down a scene, or an idea I've had floating around in my head is a good starting point. It doesn't necessarily mean it will be at the beginning of the story, but once I've put something down, the other ideas start flowing. That's the beauty of writing. It can be whatever you want it to be. If you have it written, but aren't satisfied with it, you can always change it.Hodsdon: What's the best business advice you've received?Hartman: Don't put all your writing eggs in one basket. With the precarious economy, the publishing world has been hit hard, too. Try to spread your publications around to more than one publisher. That way, if the worst happens, you won't have lost everything you've worked so hard to achieve.Hodsdon: What are your best life/work balance tips?Hartman: Prioritize. If it's a Tuesday or Thursday and I'm working in the dental office, I know I won't get much done at home, including writing. But if I'm off from work, I'll have a list of things I have to get done that day. I try to get the most crucial one done first, even if it's something I don't want to do. That way, when the end of the day comes if I haven't completed my list, I can at least relax knowing I've gotten the most important one done.Hodsdon: Please share any future projects you may be working on?Hartman: I've got two books coming out early next year. One, titled "Flossophy of Grace" is another dental-related romance about a hygienist who falls in love with her patient. The other, "Cat-Fish" tells the story of a woman and her cat who finds themselves stranded on a yacht for two weeks with a man they've never met.My current work in progress is yet to be titled, but involves male and female dentists in a small town who do all sorts of silly things to grab all the new patients in town.Hodsdon: Thank you for sharing your story with RDH eVillage readers and wishing you an abundance of success! Her current romance book, "Pillow Talk" is now available from Class Act Books.